Team Obama expands education offense against Romney
May 25th, 2012
01:24 PM ET
11 years ago

Team Obama expands education offense against Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's re-election campaign continued to hound Mitt Romney Friday over his position that smaller class sizes may not be a key component for quality education.

Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, where Romney stopped the day prior to talk with teachers at a charter school, leveled heavy charges at the candidate, saying his policies were "out of touch," "misguided" and "backwards."

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"He certainly left an impression here in the city that he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to education," Nutter said on a conference call with reporters Friday organized by the campaign.

The mayor also described Romney's meeting in Philly as a "drive-by visit" due to its short length.

When Romney stopped at a local school Thursday, he pointed to studies that countered common thought that smaller class sizes contributed to increased learning for students.

He cited a 2007 analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute that argues "evidence suggests that, except at the very early grades, class size reduction does not have much impact on student outcomes," based on the 112 studies the group examined for the report.

"Just getting smaller classrooms didn't seem to be the key," Romney said.

Teachers attending the roundtable Thursday morning quickly fired back, arguing smaller class sizes are always preferable to larger ones.

Piling on, Obama campaign officials on Friday pointed to other studies, namely the widely-cited Project STAR study in Tennessee, that concluded smaller student-to-teacher ratios benefited student learning.

Nutter, going further, argued one doesn't even need to look to studies on this issue, saying the concept should be common sense.

"Any parent knows that's easier to keep track of two kids as opposed to 10," he said. "Some of this is just common sense, so let us not get so sophisticated that we can't keep track of what is plainly evident right in front of us."

Earlier this week Romney laid out his education plan, which calls for dramatically expanding school choice for low-income and disabled children by using a voucher-type system.

Romney's point on Thursday, his campaign maintains, was the quality of teaching should be emphasized over class size.

"If President Obama is as focused on class size as his campaign seems to be, his outdated view of education reform puts him at odds with leaders like Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, and his own secretary of education – all of whom have said that improving teacher quality gives kids the best opportunity to learn," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement Friday.

She went on: "President Obama should be ashamed that his campaign is launching such cheap political attacks at the expense of a serious discussion about education policy."

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Education • Mitt Romney
soundoff (49 Responses)

    Mitt McCain says that Russia is our number one enemy. That alone proves that he is not qualified to be President.

    May 25, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Please Grow Up

    Smaller class size is a plus. Kids are people, my friend, and school is not a corporation.

    May 25, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Lemone

    Even Ray Charles can see that...Thanks Mayor Nutter

    May 25, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Maxx

    Romney doesn't quite get the problem, why don't they all just go to private schools if the puiblic ones are so good?

    May 25, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Bill

    Has Romney ever addressed a crowd of than 100 people (who are usually hand picked and screened). This guy is a real goof. He will never be president.

    May 25, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Cody

    Obama.. what a sleezy person.

    May 25, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If you're educated in "private schools" as Romney was, of course you're going to be out-of-touch and you can't get in-touch by doing drive-bys just for a photo op.

    May 25, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. John

    Romney's stance is like saying "personal attention really doesn't matter".......some independent, well adjusted, above average performing children possibly can perform adequately without "hand holding", but many get no attention at all at home, and they need personal direction to improve their self esteem, motivation, and focus........Romney's experience and conversation tends to be about well adjusted/rich hence his "take public $ with student", without considering what impact that would have on what is left at the public school, and also whether that "pittance" would be enough to allow a poor student to attend a private school....Romney is more out of touch with education more than any candidate in history.

    May 25, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. AL In Palm Beach County, FL

    Didn't we try the "voucher-type" system and found it was benefiting those close pals of those same people pushing for this.

    Wait, isn't this taking money that would otherwise go to public schools and send it to a private school, hence cutting the amount of money sent to school districts and in direct relations to firing teachers....HEY ROMNEY, I BET YOU LIKE THAT LAST PART HUH, "FIRING PEOPLE".

    May 25, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Greg

    The studies that Romny points to did not adequately address the other differences in the groups they studied. Basically drawing conclusions without considering what else may have influenced the outcomes.

    May 25, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |

    Out of touch is the perfect descripion of Willard.

    May 25, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |

    I know millionaires. Even they say Willard is out of touch with the working man.

    May 25, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Tyrone

    Romney says, I Love me some Raping of some Pensions,. Its an absolute fact that Bain fired prople for not being Mormon. Its also an Absolute fact taht Romney Gives The mormon churh stock from Bain. After Extensive Research, I have come to the Conclusion that they are one in the same & that Mitt is CEO of the Cult of 14 Million Members. Dont Laugh, what he started along with the Lds in partnership has Assets of 66 BILLION, Let me repeat that, 66 BILLION. Yes, I Absolutly Believe that Bain is SOLELY owned by The Mormons. This guy aint exactly SEPERATION OF CHURCH & STATE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Zenfire

    A study in California showed the opposite of Star project in Tennessee. This study showed that reducing the class size in school did not have a positive effect on students. The fact is, the most imporant factor for student success is the teacher. You put an ineffective teacher in a small classroom – the teacher will still be a poor teacher and get poor results. You take an awsome teacher and add 3 students to their class – they will still be awsome and more students will learn.

    May 25, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. nemesis

    20 kids is a learning environment. 40 kids is crowd control. Has this guy ever BEEN in a class with 40 students?

    May 25, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. BLKMANinAmerica

    Def Robmoney is OUT OF TOUCH (at least with 99%ers in America), totally clueless about middle America and down right just dosen't give a darn about middle and lower Americans. His head is so far up in the clouds that he just can't/won't/hasn't even tried to see things from middle America perspectives. NOT a good presidential choose at all.

    May 25, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Lionel

    OMG. Bain is owned by Mormons and they sell off these companies and then donate money to the Mormon church to get tax brakes. They also have Swiss and Cayman island accounts. Is anyone seriously thinking about voting for this guy.

    Wake up America.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    May 25, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. curious

    Rmoney is not qualified to be president. If you think the 2010 elections turned out badly, just elect this guy.

    May 25, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. rla

    Oh GOSh- WIllard????? Don't you liberals ever show an intellect but go right to 8th grade bully tactics???? Maybe someone needs to step up and say the damage done by liberal America to the concept of the two parent family, stop idolizing single moms and legal and social demonization of fathers. Education and the success of children does start at home and with a focused hard nosed school!

    May 25, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Malory Archer


    Obama.. what a sleezy person.


    Takes one to know one.

    May 25, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |


    How can anyone think Mitt Rob-mey will do anything positive for education when the actual solution he proposes WOULD BE A DISASTER.

    If you think the last "businessman" we had as POTUS (Bush II) was BAD wait until Rob-mey (god forbid) comes in. There will be NOTHING left of America when he's done. Just some millionaires and billionaires and A BUNCH OF POOR PEOPLE.

    May 25, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. PaMom

    I read the comments and wonder how you prioritize the needs of this country. Education is a key point although it sho0uld not be a federal government issue but a state issue. Regardless, how in the wo0rld do you justify a man like Obama as President when he has no experience other than Community Organizer and do you not see him using this tool to divide the country and take it down. The Pied Piper keeps playing his song and the minions follow. Learn what you can about this man, look at his record and listen to all with an open mind. This country and our children are at stake. Can we afford the huge debt he has incurred in his 3 years as president? Don't think so! Oh but is still all Bush's fault.

    May 25, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. morning1sun

    Anyone who votes for Mitt Romney after this article about education for our American children has got to be clueless. Romney does not care about quality education for our children of middle class and less fortunate children. It sickens me to read how selfish and self centered this guy is. He sends his own children to private schools why should he care about public school children. Conservative Republicans, President Barack Obama cares more about your children than your nominee for President. Think about it. I am a Catholic and have been married for 40 years and practice my religion. I am an independent, but will vote for President Obama because voting for Romney will be a disaster waiting to happen. He is making all these promises, but you know promises is nothing to him. He will say he can not remember even if what he says is presented to his face. Why can't all of you see a fake when he is standing in front of you.

    May 25, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney wants larger class sizes with more kids per teachers because he is going to be firing more teachers!'s a continuation of the GOP-TeaParty/RYAN Budget plan at the state level!!!!

    That is Etch-a-Sketch Mitt EDUCATION PLAN....getting rid of the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION!! Remember that!!!!

    May 25, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Obama -- Our FIRST Cow Pie President, Served Fresh Daily

    Malory Archer
    Obama.. what a sleezy person.
    Takes one to know one.

    Egads... did third grade get out early for the holiday weekend?!! What next? "I know you are but what are YOU?"???

    May 25, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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